General

Gelernter: A dissenting voice in the field of artificial intelligence

The relationship between the human mind and body is something that has occupied philosophers at least since the father of modern philosophy, René Descartes, bequeathed his notorious “dualism” to his successors. For Descartes the mind was a different “substance” compared to the body – the former was a “thinking substance” and the latter an “extended…

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#RUReferenceList could prove crucial in influencing the rape conversation

Is the time for South Africa to have the difficult discussion about rape finally here? Is it now time to do our utmost to provide protection and care for survivors and those vulnerable? The release of a list of 11 male students accused of sexual assault at Rhodes University, and subsequent protests by students, could…

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The TRC as biopolitical imperative (Part 1: Indemnity)

Now that 20 years have passed since the TRC undertook the complex task of promoting national unity and reconciliation, it is an opportune moment to reflect on its legacy. In an as yet little known book, The Impossible Machine: a genealogy of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, published in 2013, Adam Sitze targets much…

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Hallowed be Thy name (and the non-sense of property ownership)

“Hello be Thy name.” That is what I used to say as a seven year old at boarding school, in my pyjamas with knees pressed on the cold floor of the dormitory. “Oh cheeses!” I would say whenever frustrated. A fellow boarder pointed out that I was blaspheming the Lord’s name. That I was saying,…

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Lessons on language while in Beijing

By Curwyn Mapaling Naturally, when you attend a symposium or a conference in another country, you expect to learn, to share, to travel, and to explore. There’s so much to learn when entering a foreign country for the first time – everything is new, everything is interesting. I was recently selected to attend the Yenching…

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Do you need to own a vagina to write the manual for it?

I am in my late twenties which means a number of things. The first, an increase in pregnancies. The second, an increase in sexual awareness among female friends and family. The third is doing squats before it’s too late and my hind quarters can no longer be saved. Bar the last one this list involves…

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Zuma-Concourt saga: Constitutionalism (Episode IV)

The widespread use of the phrase “a victory of democracy”, when referring to the Constitutional Court Nkandla ruling, is a disservice to South Africa. Words have the power to shine light on a meaning. Words have the power to marginalise. The choice of the word democracy in this instance is not a trivial matter because…

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The leader we want after Zuma

President Jacob Zuma is dominating headlines and dinner conversations, sadly. Between calls for him to fall, calls for him to stand down and calls for him to step up and take responsibility, the president is either the most fighting fit or thick-skinned leader of a democracy anywhere — Humpty Dumpty seems glued to the seat…

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The ‘perversion’ of Donald Trump’s popularity

A lot has been written speculatively about American presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s popularity, which has seemed surprising to many if his outrageous statements about women or about Mexicans are taken into account. Until recently when he did an egg-dance on the question of women and abortion, trying to correct what he had suddenly realised had…

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Zuma-Concourt saga: National question (Episode II)

Thabo Mbeki for a long time used to set and drive the public socio-political discourse agenda in South Africa. Journalists would excitedly wait for his regular newsletter and general musings. After Mbeki was dethroned, we entered an interregnum where political discourse largely oscillated between affairs concerning the person of Jacob Zuma and an extended obituary…

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